To help young children, their parents and teachers to better understand and manage mental health, Wakefield child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) have been delivering supportive sessions in schools.
The team works with professionals within local schools to offer consultations to develop a further understanding of young people’s emotional wellbeing, and to enable staff to talk about mental health concerns directly with parents. The sessions develop skills and provide resources to staff which can be used with other children they work with and reduce overall demand on mental health services.
Wakefield CAMHS also offer direct support to individual children and young people in school, offering information and guidance on topics such as anxiety, self-esteem, anger management, understanding emotions, bereavement, stress, and exam management.
Alongside this, they offer group sessions covering topics such as exam stress, mindfulness, and transitioning to secondary school.
The sessions focus on case studies with time for small-group peer-refection and questions. The aim of the sessions is to provoke young people to think about their own and their peers’ mental health, and to consider positive ways of managing their mental wellbeing.
Parents are also invited to workshops to find out more information about things such as self-harm, sleep and technology, and promoting potential.
Carmain Gibson-Holmes, general manager of Wakefield CAMHS, said: “Through these sessions we’ve reached over 2,500 pupils in just three months and encouraged them to think about their own mental wellbeing. Our work has enabled school staff to guide pupils to the appropriate support where needed, and given the school confidence to refer when needed rather than feeling as though they must fix everything themselves. The service we provide was described by one teacher as ‘absolutely necessary’ in helping them to manage the increasing numbers of children with mental health needs and has received really positive feedback from staff, parents and young people.”